Moody Blues

What’s on the iPod: Late March, Death March by Frightened Rabbit

Yesterday, I was in a mood. A few things happened that had me both ticked off and depressed. It started before my feet hit the floor with my plans thwarted by roofers. Then a flood of really weird and rather dumb conversations and commentary had me wanting to erase yesterday and start over. The one bright spot was the free writers’ call, where we always have a great conversation and a fun time. The rest of the day? Meh.

In a few cases, the conversations I was part of made me doubt myself as a writer, and in one instance, I saw clearly the agenda of the speaker. It was to belittle and somehow embarrass me. Whatever. Usually those who are talking down to someone will eventually find themselves being judged twice as harshly as the person they’re trying to stunt, so karma will be one hell of a ride, I’m afraid. As long as the check clears first.

Because I was in such a mood, I avoided most conversations that went deeper than “hello.” I backed off marketing for the day, stayed away from commenting on blogs, avoided talking about anything on Facebook, and gave my brain permission to stop thinking so much. By the end of the day, the sun had come out both literally and figuratively, and I felt like trying again today.

I want to talk about writing, but I’m still hung over from all of yesterday’s junk. So maybe it’s better to look at the things I’ve learned this week:

People don’t always have good intentions. Sometimes the flak you get isn’t about you at all. Insecurity? Yes, but sometimes it is less about those insecurities and more about trying to screw you over. It’s rare that it happens, but there are people in the world who act out jealousies or dislikes. It’s okay to let it be their issues, too. Also, it’s okay to remove them from your orbit.

Salespeople who hang up on you just did you a favor. He asked for my husband. I said, “No, this is Lori.” Click. Huh? Isn’t that my job to hang up on him? When a salesperson does this, not only is it likely you don’t want what they’re selling, it’s clear you don’t want to deal with someone who would start a business relationship in such a rude way.

Image is everything. When a friend told me my website was outdated, I was surprised. I hadn’t considered it, but when I looked, she was right. I changed it immediately, and saw an increase in customer inquiries. Still, some companies and sole proprietors don’t even care about the image they are presenting, it seems. If they just put time and actual money into what they showed the world… Seriously. What is an outdated or hokey  image saying to potential customers?

Sometimes you’ll do all the work and get none of the credit. To my mind, that’s often okay, too. Eventually, people see who’s doing the work. Even if they don’t, so what? If you enjoy it, do it. If not, stop.

A closed mind equals stagnancy. I have plenty of examples of people who get advice and either lead with “I can’t” or shoot it down because it means work. To all freelancers who let fear or hard work get in the way — open yourself to suggestion or try a different profession.

Bandwagon business approaches fail. I’ve seen someone with a good idea that’s working be copied countless times without the same success. Why? Because that one person has a unique approach and personality that combine to create success. Not everyone has the same elements in them, nor will a fantastic idea be implemented in the same way by each person. It would be so much better to expend that energy on a business approach that fits and feels right.

True friends are priceless. I have a handful of friends, both offline and online, who make up the best support system and are just wonderful people. I haven’t told them often enough what they mean to me. Today, I will.

What are your lessons for the week?

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  • Cathy Miller October 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    One of the things I love the most about getting older (yes, there are benefits ;-)) is how much easier it is for me to remove people from my orbit.

    I know I have said this ad nauseum, but my benchmark for most of my actions is the question, Is it (or the person) worth the energy?

    If it (or they) are not – release the negative energy and move on. That's my lesson for the week and hopefully the rest of my life. πŸ˜‰

    Virtual hugs, Lori.

  • Lori October 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Cathy, that's great advice. Thank you. In this case, I've released this particular person in the past, but opened that door again. I think distance is the best remedy…and I'm about to distance myself quite a bit.

  • Paula October 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Maybe my lesson for the week is not to overstress about sticky situations because somehow they manage to work themselves out whether I fret about them or not. Why waste the energy?

    Another lesson I learned: It's okay to let your friends enjoy their harmless delusions. When a friend obsessed with looking younger/thinner/blonder than her naturally blond and naturally skinny younger sister insisted she looks 10 years younger than her sister, I couldn't lie and agree, but didn't want to burst her bubble. So I said, "Wow. Your sister must have aged a lot since I've seen her."

    I also learned that learning how to play the system can reap rewards. I protested my sky-high property taxes year after year, and at most the review board knocked off a couple hundred dollars off the assessed value. When writing a low-paying article about how to protest property taxes, I gleaned some great tips. I used them all with this year's protest. The board of review's decision arrived yesterday: they agreed 100% with my protest, and my property taxes should go down considerably next year.

    When I accepted that assignment I was hoping I'd learn enough to finally win a protest. It's important to think about those intangibles before rejecting lower paying work. That 20-cents/word article will save me hundreds of dollars a year as long as I own this house.

  • Colin Galbraith October 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Lori – I am blown away and SO impressed that Frightened Rabbit have made it over the Atlantic and that you have them on your iPod – simply awesome!!


    Ps. Yup, I still read your blog but am a somewhat a lurker these days…

  • Lori October 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Paula, it's about surrender — surrender the fact that your friend sees herself in reverse-anorexic fashion. She harms no one and makes herself feel great. πŸ™‚

    Colin, I've been loving these guys for years. I've seen two of their shows and am about to see a third. LOVE Frightened Rabbit! Would love to see We Were Promised Jetpacks, too. Great stuff coming out of the UK, per usual. πŸ™‚

  • Lori October 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    PS– Very glad to see you here, Colin. πŸ™‚

  • Paula October 18, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Funny you should say reverse-anorexic since she has an eating disorder, too.

  • EP October 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I learned (again) that if a customer comes at you as if he might be one of those customers who is going to try to correct work you have done as if he didn't need you to translate it in the first place, he is – and he will. Very annoying and not worth dealing with.

    Yes, I'm in a bad mood too.

  • Lori October 20, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    EP, it's very annoying, I agree. Question: Did you feel it in your gut that he was going to be trouble? If so, trust your gut next time. Intuition is a powerful safety device.